The noise coming from Rome about American women religious is in large part just that: the blustering of old men, translated into official-looking documents by cassock-clad junior clerics who wistfully wander the Curia's halls dreaming of a more orderly church, where lace is white and lay folk are quiet.Never mind that the study analyzed the presentations of the LCWR over a ten year interval. Nor that the issues raised were entirely on the basis of failures of the LCWR to conform to Church doctrine. Clearly, to ask women religious to remember their vows and to adhere to them is simply too much.
The whole thing is a heartbreak. I can picture the tears you've shed, for your community, for your vocation, for your very life. Please believe me, nothing was wasted.Yes, it is a heartbreak, but not in the sense Ms. Zagano means. It is heartbreaking that the orders which stopped wearing habits and left the convent:
- are dying, attracting no new members
- are opting to apply new age techniques which have been condemned (Enneagrams, et al)
- continue to lionize dissidents, such as Richard Rohr and Joan Chittister
- continue to show contempt for the hierarchy
But on the bright side, there is good news from orders which are in full communion with Rome. Sisters in Nashville, and in Ann Arbor, to name two locations, are enjoying growth in their vibrant communities, with good numbers of young women entering the novitiate.
Like two sides of a coin. Or a trend.